Monday, February 23, 2009

How do we deal with this situation?

If you are a Tennessee Democrat and you follow the blogs, you are undoubtedly aware of the new TNDP Treasurer Bill Freeman, who, in addition to giving lots of money to Democrats, gave lots to Republicans as well:
Freeman also provided more details about his largest GOP contribution. "In 2004, my neighbor hosted a fundraiser for President Bush," Freeman says. "My son wanted to meet the President, so I gave $10,000 for two tickets. My motivation was not to help the GOP, it was to give my son the opportunity to meet the President of the United States. But, looking at the mess the Bush Administration has created in our country and around the world - this is not a decision I would repeat if I had to do over again."
No, I'm not too damned happy about it, either. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Well, this is a screw-up on the part of the TNDP; not a fatal one, but a screw-up. Yes, the TNDP also notes that
As a member of the Obama for America national finance team, Freeman raised over $250,000 for President Obama's campaign. Financial records dating back to 2002 also confirm that nearly 85% of Freeman's personal contributions - nearly $200,000 - have been given to Democrats - including donations to Democratic Congressmen Jim Cooper, Lincoln Davis, Steve Cohen, and Bart Gordon - as well as numerous state House and Senate Democratic candidates in Tennessee.
He damned well better have, after the earlier shit. Some of us in the statewide progressive blogger community are, with some justification, downright enraged over this situation:
Hey Mr. Freeman, at the same time you were throwing away your spare $10G so junior could shake hands with a man I’d only want to meet if I could tell him to go fuck himself, I was busting my ass for the Tennessee Democratic Party every single weekend to elect John Kerry. I went door to door in some of Nashville’s roughest housing projects, registering voters and talking about the Democratic ticket. I set up voter registration tables every Saturday. I burned up my cell phone minutes phone banking. Why? Because I'm a Democrat and when you see your country being destroyed by a party who treats the Constitution like toilet paper, you don't sit back on the sidelines. You get involved.

Oh, by the way: I hosted house parties too -- not at the $5,000 a ticket level, of course. I think one event raised about $7,000 total though, and we were mighty proud of ourselves. Glad to know all of that work was wiped away by a quick stroke of your pen so your kid could meet the president.
I have a hard time blaming her, except......

For the past 30 years or so, we have been hemorraging Democrats due to that bastard from my hometown, Ronnie Reagan. It took the utter collapse of the country to start bringing these folks back, but they are coming. We as progressives have had the run of the party (well, at least outside DC and Nashville) for years, and we are now faced with a dilemma, which Freeman puts in our faces: what the hell do we do with these people?

Do we send them back from whence they came, even though they were with us years upon years ago? Majorities are not always easy to maintain; however, that doesn't mean I think we have to get round-heeled about it. We DO have to have a certain sensitivity about it, but so should the TNDP in general, and yes, in Chip Forrester in particular. He had to know this would cause some bile to be spilled over this situation.

Chip is being hit from all sides now. As the trolls inundating Post Politics and Pith In The Wind indicate, there are a few people who wouldn't care if Chip cured cancer, they would still try to destroy him. These trolls are either Goopers, or, more likely, close confidants of the people who fought to stop Forrester's election. Some of them are losing money because of the change, and the fact that they can't make money off the TNDP tit any longer is causing them to attack relentlessly. To those people, let me say this:


Chip just took over, and he is having to rebuild from scratch. Bredesen has been a cancer on the party, and I eagerly await his departure from the political scene. Gordon and Davis may be in Gooper districts, but the whole state is NOT headed that direction, which the Goopers will learn to their shock and amazement in 2010.

While that felt good, I need to move on and get back to the problem. To the problem at hand, I say we have a duty to help re-educate these souls who have been lost, but now are found. We need to understand that they are going to have skeletons, especially in Nashville, where it couldn't be more incestuous with regarding to contributing to candidates. There have been lots of Republicans who contributed to Ned Ray McWherter (even though he never lost his true Democratic nature) and Phil Bredesen (who sold his to the highest bidder). Obviously, there have been Democrats (even in Memphis) who gave to Don Sundquist and to Lamar Alexander (and I'm still pissed about that, even if Tuke never stood a chance).

Until we build the party structure to the point where no one will do this for fear of political death, we have to be more accepting. No, I didn't say I liked it, but we're grown here, and if people are willing to confess and repent, we need to give them that chance.

Besides, who is more zealous than a convert?

UPDATE: Steve Ross weighs in over at Vibinc, has a very solid take on this situation.


Southern Beale said...

Besides, who is more zealous than a convert?

That would be a good argument except he doesn't appear to be a convert, not even close. He's a fence-straddler. That may be fine for a businessman but it's not who we want leading the party.

Ben Vos said...

Sobeale - 1) Maybe Freeman has converted from political slut to committed Democrat. Jesus accepted Mary Magdalene ... why not let Freeman in the TNDP fold? (as long as he doesn't screw around) 2) Good thing Freeman is only the treasurer and not chair, or even a member of Exec. Committee.

Anonymous said...

At least Freeman has identified as a Dem ... what about Cammack??? Parachuting in from the GOP and having the temerity to think he'll run for Guv as a Dem? Yikes ... what kind of re-education should we line up for him?